Return to the Bell

From the car park for Pen y Fan GW/SW-001, we reversed our route back towards Brecon, along the A470 and A438 to Glasbury, and then through the narrow country lanes towards The Begwns GW/MW-025. Progress became slow behind a tractor trimming high hedges on the narrow lanes, but after completing a section, it did pull over to let us pass.

We parked on the firm grassy area at the highest point of the road, and set off up the wide path to the summit. After the long walks of the previous two days, Jimmy’s mate Craig was quite surprised to be able to see the summit so close and clear. We had been doing some serious hiking though, and it was time for the antedote of an easy one.

On arrival at ‘The Roundabout’, Jimmy and Craig went off exploring the small plantation before setting up the 2m SOTA Beam. Liam found a sheltered spot to relax with his Nintendo DS, while I strung up the 40m dipole.

Jimmy made four QSOs on 2m FM, including S2S with Steve G7AAV/P and Helen G7AAU/P on Hergest Ridge G/WB-008. I enjoyed a leisurely activation of 12 contacts on 40m CW.

Shortly after 4.30pm, we packed up and drove back to Talgarth for a slightly earlier evening meal at the Bell Inn. Scrummy, filling, tasty, homemade and cheap. What more could you want from pub meals? We told Sydna we would be going home tomorrow, and thanked her again for her kind welcome, just like four years ago.

We were back at the campsite at 8.30pm, but unanimously decided to go to bed! A good sleep was disturbed by an adjacent tent playing music on a ghettoblaster at 3am, with the males in the tent shouting and swearing, and the females shrieking with loud drunken laughter. Having politely asked them twice if they would keep the noise down, they became abusive and louder, even turning the music up. I 'phoned the warden number on the signs, and was most impressed when a Land Rover pulled up in less than five minutes. After a “word”, the rabble quietened - until the Land Rover drove off, then the shouting, swearing, laughing and music recommenced. In the morning, the excellent staff at the site told us that several further complaints had been received that morning, and that the rabble were being ejected from the campsite at that very moment!

Other than that incident, it was an excellent campsite with good facilities and staff. We have plenty more SW summits to do, so I expect that we will be back at this site - and the Bell Inn at Talgarth - in the future.


Sunday 30th August 2009 was the last of our scheduled four days of walking and camping in South East Wales. There remained one summit to do that Jimmy needed as a catch-up to his Dad’s uniques, and one right next to it that would be a new one for us both, and would make a good ‘double’.

After collecting more goodies from the campsite shop, it was a short drive to the summit that towered above our campsite. Jimmy directed me along the country lanes to SO160283, the col between Mynydd Troed GW/SW-009 and Mynydd Llangorse GW/SW-015. The drive took only minutes from the campsite, allowing us to claw back the time expended in breaking camp and loading the car.

Unfortunately, and despite the gloom and drizzle of the morning, it seemed plenty of others wanted to do this pair of Marilyns as well. The surprisingly large numbers of horse-riders, mountain-bikers and hikers who had walked up the road to the saddle were not a problem. But those who had driven to this point had taken every possible parking spot, and there weren’t any alternatives anywhere near on the narrow lanes up and down the hill.

I did notice that a chap was sat in the passenger seat of one car. I said to Jimmy that he was probably waiting for someone, and that they were unlikely to be long, if someone was waiting for them. Sure enough, a family group was shortly seen descending Mynydd Troed, after which they got into the car and drove off. We quickly nabbed the new - and only parking position.

Mynydd Troed is very close to the col, but a fair old vertical height must be gained. The path starts as grassy and fairly steep. It then goes steeper, and steeper still! However, the really steep bits are actually rather easy, for it has those eroded “footprint steps” which dramatically tames the climb. Just beneath the main summit ridge, a more graded path gives and option to spiral into the summit, and this option was taken.

On the summit, were two deep holes. Jimmy and craig were already in the bigger one, with the beam set up above them just outside the hole. I plonked Liam in there with his pastie and DS game as well, while I set up the 40m dipole and inserted myself into the smaller hole.

This was a really enjoyable 40m CW activation for me, with a steady run of 22 QSOs and 13 DXCCs in just 17 minutes. Jimmy just made the four contacts, but didn’t need to struggle to complete - that would come later!

The short steep descent back to the car was completed, and the road over the saddle was even busier with hiking expedition groups, mountain bikers and horse-riders. We crossed the road and pressed on to ascend Mynydd Llangorse GW/SW-015.


The second summit on Sunday 30th August 2009, and our last of the holiday, was also that last one in SW that Jimmy needed to catch me up in terms of uniques. After Mynydd Troed GW/SW-009, we crossed the road and began climbing the relatively gentle slope of Mynydd Llangorse GW/SW-015. Liam was successfully bribed onto the ridge through periodic issues of pork scratchings and Welsh cakes!

Once atop the main ridge, I could see just how far Jimmy and Craig had got ahead of us. They were already on the summit! Liam and I were pretty tired after all the walking of the last few days, so we ambled only slowly to the summit.

As we arrived, Jimmy had already set up the SOTA Beam, but not managed any QSOs. Just as I finished erecting the dipole, he managed to work Steve G7AAV/P and Helen G7AAU/P for S2S with Wapley Hill G/WB-016. Then came a long drought for Jimmy! In the meantime, I rattled through 18 QSOs on 40m CW, but when this came to a conclusion, Jimmy was still stuck on two contacts.

He tried 40m SSB after a self-spot. No joy. He tried 2m FM again. No joy. I then shifted the 817 over to Jimmy’s SOTA Beam so that he could try 2m SSB. I went to self-spot, and the GPRS was playing up. So I 'phoned the ever reliable Mr Dial-a-Spot, Roy G4SSH who did the honours. Before too long, Jimmy added Graham G3OHC and Don G0RQL to his log, and he had the unique and the 2 points in the bag.

Liam and I commenced out descent, but Jimmy and Craig decided to continue on to visit the trig point shown on the OS map (not at the summit). When he passed back over the summit later, he put another call out on the handy. By this stage, I was nearly back at the car, so I replied to get myself a chaser contact, and give Jimmy a fifth activator QSO.

The drive back to Macclesfield went well, especially when a petrol station on the A49 sold us some warm pakoras for a welcome snack! We were home about 9.45pm for a late evening meal, and then I ran Craig home to Bollington. It was a very successful and enjoyable trip. Thanks to all who called in to our activations.

73, Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:

I know that many of you, especially those that have met and walked with
Jimmy, will want to congratulate him on this fantastic achievement.

Somehow I missed this one. Well done Jimmy! The same as in SOTA activating, the motto for gaining qualifications is “onwards and upwards”. Best wishes for the next phase of your education.

73, Gerald

Thank you for the congratulations Geoff and Joan.

Jimmy M3EYP

Thank you for your Comments Gerald.

Jimmy M3EYP

In reply to M3EYP:

Well done on passing your exams Jimmy, & especially the A in Maths :slight_smile:


Mark G0VOF

Thank you for your comments Mark.

Jimmy M3EYP